Local Field. The exhibition combines video projections, animations, sound recordings, objects and texts collected during the artist's 90-day journey across Poland in 2006. A key element of Krajewska's action was to establish contact with strangers and test their sensitivity to art.
Curator Michal Jachula
Elka Krajewska’s multi-component work Local Field combines video projections, animations, sound recordings, objects and texts collected during the artist’s 90-day journey across Poland in 2006. The complex work reflects the stark reality of its origins with all the consequences of immersing oneself in it and appropriating its scraps. A key element of Krajewska’s action was to establish spontaneous contact with strangers and test their sensitivity to art and, more generally, human tolerance for artistic activity. The project is also an attempt at examining the collective memory of Poles read through individual memories and experiences as well as a broader historical narrative of the 20th century. It is at the same time a contemporary analysis of the reality seen and perceived through the prism of constant changes of the mother country. The artist confronts herself with the Polish reality after close to 20 years of living abroad. Krajewska’s artistic hybrid is a blend of natural elements and emotions while preserving the formal and artistic discipline imposed by the concept of the work and the logistic conditions of its execution.
The exhibition at the Arsenał Gallery aspires to be a comprehensive presentation of the project while its individual parts can be read separately within the space of the exhibit. The main motif is the “artist’s psychosomatic journey” along the borders of Poland. It is shown through integral elements of the temporal and spatial narrative which can also be considered in terms of material traces left by the project. The artist’s confrontation with people throughout her journey was most direct thanks to an act of unannounced entry into haphazardly chosen houses and into somebody’s personal space as an “other” (stranger) arriving to screen her films and, at the same time, as “one of us” (culturally, nationally and ethnically the same). Risk was an important aspect of the venture as the artist travelled alone. She would win people’s trust in herself, her intentions and plans while exposing herself to risk. Her confrontation with other people took place “here and now,” suddenly and unexpectedly, in a way that to some might seem harsh, for others eccentric, unintelligible or completely meaningless. Krajewska talked to the people she met in a language which was both shared and different, and she often encountered communication problems. At times, communication turned out impossible. The borders of Poland established after the second world war split many ethnically homogeneous communities and imposed “artificial unity” which however remained torn to pieces. Cultural diversity is particularly palpable in the border areas of Poland, which for this very reason were selected by the artist as the trajectory of her three-month peregrinations. The films “emanating” from Krajewska’s head evoked almost religious experiences in many people. Contact with a stranger and her corporeality, and the willingness to welcome an alien traveller into a traditionally hospitable Polish home made each and every encounter a profoundly human event. Art was born at unexpected moments of the encounters in this very special “mobile” artistic project. Reality and art became inextricably intertwined.
An integral part of the exhibit is a bilingual Polish/English publication in which Magda Drągowska-Romaszkan and Elka Krajewska talk about the idea of the project. A series of 21 poems by Wojtek Pusłowski written on the basis of recordings made by the artist presents people, places and emotions experienced by Krajewska during her three-month journey across Poland.
Artist Elka Krajewska Artist Elka Krajewska studied at the University of Warsaw and holds an MFA from the Yale University School of Art (New Haven, USA). She makes films, videos, performances and objects. She has created a number of exhibits, actions and art events. She is the president and founder of Salvage Art Institute and co-curator of No Longer Art: Salvage Art Institute at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University (2012). She participated in many exhibitions and projects including Battle, Postmasters Gallery, New York (2012); Rituals of the Art World, Ludlow 38, New York (2011); Battle: Horizontal Vertigo vs Record Projection, Brennan Griffin Gallery, New York (2011); Wenn die Nacht am tiefsten, Belle Etage Projects, Berlin (2010); Camden Arts Centre, London (2009); Polish Abstract Film 1933–2004, Tate Britain, London (2008); Phantom Hand Dialog, Orchard Gallery, New York (2007); Manual CC, Galeria Kronika, Bytom (2007); Bristol Imax Omnitheater, Syracuse Film and Video Festival, Syracuse (2007); The Archive of Polish Experimental Film, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2006); Electric Avenue, MuseumsQuartier, Vienna (2005). Artist in residence at Quartier21, MuseumsQuartier, Vienna (2005) and Hangar, Centre de Producció d’Arts Visuals, Barcelona (2004–2005). Elka Krajewska lives and works in New York.
Image: Local Field, 2006
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Opening: 12 April h 18:00
Bialystok, 2 Mickiewicza St.
Opening times: Thuesday - Sunday, 10.00 - 18.00
Closed: Mondays and the days immediately after a holiday
Last admission to exhibition is at 17.30
Admission is free for all visitors on Thursdays
1) regular - 10,00 (ten) zl;
2) reduced - 5,00 (five) zl;